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The Wall Comes Crashing Down

As a sound recordist, one of the best things about living in a small town in the middle of nowhere besides fresh air, clean water and quiet is sometimes you get to record things that would be very difficult or impossible to record anywhere else. Some of those things are recording a M-60 machine gun in someones back yard or getting the powerful sounds of a building being ripped apart by an excavator. Well, that has been my life experience for the last two days and now I have a slight headache.

While I was driving through town on the way to record the M-60 for a second time yesterday I noticed that a wrecking crew had started tearing down the old Chevy dealership to make way for a new development. They had a few very large excavators with the claw and were having at it with the building. I stopped and strolled around outside the fence they had erected to keep people away and safe. I happened to meet one of the operators and asked him when they were going to be tearing down the other half of the building. He told me that it takes some time because they had to separate out the materials for disposal and they were using the last half of the two story wall as a dust shield facing the main street. He could not give me a time that the final blows were going to occur so I said goodbye and headed for my gun session.

A few weeks ago I noticed all the fencing around the old dealership site and knew at some point it was going to be ripped apart and there were plenty of places I could hang out with my gear and record something, anything. So at the spur of the moment I decided to take a chance this morning and head over there with the MKH-8040ST rig on a long boompole and see if I could record at the site. When I got there I walked around the outside fence and tried to record the general background sounds of the guys working. Since the main highway runs on one side of the site I really did not expect to get anything isolated and useful, maybe just some construction site ambience.

Well, as luck would have it, the guy I talked to yesterday saw me with the gear and stopped his excavator. The next thing I know he yells out to me “Want some glass breaking?” I quickly gave him a thumbs up and he proceeded to ram the claw through a huge window. OK, now I was on to something so I gave him the thumbs up again and walked around to the other side where there was another excavator smashing wood debris and moving metal girders around. There are all these signs on the fence that say “Hard Hat Area”, “Danger, Keep Out” and “Stay Away”. I stood outside the fence for a short time and decided it was time to walk through the opening of fence into the site. I figured the worst thing that could happen is they would tell me to leave.

Once inside the site I could get clean backgrounds with no traffic noises and position myself right in the middle for a good stereo image. Well, luck stuck again and the excavator drove right by me with a massive steel beam and dropped it over in the corner. The operator stopped the machine and came over and sked me if I was collecting air quality samples. I told him I was recording sound effects and he said “OK”. I briefly explained to him what I do and he told me it was OK to hang out here. I asked him if he was going to tear down some of the tall walls and said maybe later because he had to separate things on the ground first. He gets in his machine and drives by me again on his way back to where he was working. I recorded some incredible tread squeaking ans squealing.

The next thing I know he is moving the claw high in the air over the wall and I ran into position and recorded him ripping the wall apart. Now it was happening, the goldmine! The excavator was on the other sie of the wall so the engine noise is minimal and when the wall gets torn apart some of it falls to the ground. I got some great recordings today, maybe once in a lifetime, I don’t know, all I know is I sure had a great time and I have a slight headache from all the loud sounds I’ve been recording lately.

Enjoy!

Frank

Note: The video is from my iPhone 4 and i’m concentrating on holding the mic steady so the video is jerky, Oh well….

PHOTOS

Wall Destroy Photo

Wall Destroy Photo

Wall Destroy Photo

Wall Destroy Photo

Wall Destroy Photo

Explosion Recording October 2011

I’ve always wanted to record explosions and while I was recording a few guns recently I had my chance. Explosions are not something you can record everyday. I takes some planning, a good location that allows this kind of loud stuff and a very good shot. Since I have the gear all I needed was the above. It all came together after months of planning with the local gun shop. After recording a bunch of guns it was time to set off the Tannerite. If you don’t know about Tannerite, it is two (legal) substances that when mixed together and hit with just the right projectile at just the right velocity, it goes Boom!

We brought along 25 half pound canisters and planned how many we were going to tape together and set off. We started out with a few singles and doubles and then moved on to the big ones up to five together. They were set on wood tree stumps so they would not kick up too much dirt and debris. I recorded with all the microphones I had on the gun shoot placed at various locations in the gravel pit. I used a Sanken CSS-5, AT 835ST, MKH-416, PCM-D50 (96k), MKH-8040 and my MKH-8040ST microphone set at 24-bit 192kHz and 96kHz. I aimed the microphones in many directions and set them at different distances. I would guess the mics were anywhere from 30 meters to 50 meters away from the blasts.

Explosion 10-2011 Photo

I did not know what to expect. I knew they were going to be loud but since we had just shot off some REALLY loud rifles my perpective was totally messed up. Needless to say they were LOUD. Your body feels the concussion but if your wearing hearing protection (like I was) they sound muffled. After we set off the first few smaller blasts it started to rain. I quickly grabbed all the gear scattered around the gravel pit and set it under the hatch of my car. It seemed like the rain was not going to stop so we called it a day and I torn down the gear. Then as quick as it came in it stopped. Since we were running out of time I quickly got the MKH-8040ST and Sanken CSS-5 set up and we recorded the remaining explosions.

I thought I was going to regret not setting up all the gear after the rain delay but after I returned to the studio and listened to all the takes I found the best recordings were the MKH-8040ST. These microphones at 192k sound amazing. They record the full spectrum of the blast and when pitched down live up to the hype.

The sounds you hear in the video are edited and processed with a small amount of H-COMP compression and REN-Bass along with some fairly agressive L2 limiting. All in all I was happy with the sounds recorded that day. The location has a smooth decay and the gravel banks help the initial concussion. Over the next few months I will be recording lots more explosions in many different locations. Keep your eye out for ULTIMATE EXPLOSION SFX Library in the near future.

-Frank

Gun Recording October 21 2011

Here is a quick blog post about my experience recording some big guns. There is a lot more to tell but I wanted to share some of my initial thoughts, video and pictures from the session.

The shoot was arranged very quickly because the weather here in North Idaho was about to turn nasty and I wanted to get some gun sounds before the end of the year. Rain was forecast for the days after the shoot but the day of the shoot there was only a 30% chance which in North Idaho means it’s hit and miss.

I asked the guys at Wrenco Arms here in Sandpoint Idaho if they were up for having their prized M-60 machine gun recorded. They were totally in and asked if I wanted to do some other guns as well. Since I am not a gun expert I asked them to bring some big guns. We ended up recording a Barret 98B Lapua Magnum and a Remington 700 with Weatherby 300 rounds. We also had some M-16 guns scheduled but the rain came in and cut the session short. Before the rain started I also recorded Tannerite explosions. These were fun and I will post a blog about that part of the session in the future.

I consulted with two of the best in the business: Charles Maynes and Chuck Russom and they gave me some great tips and advice for this shoot and it was great that they both were willing to share their expertise with me in this field. Thanks guys!

One thing I have learned during the small amount of gun shoots I have recorded is it’s not an easy task. I am not set up to record guns all the time. I wish I had more variety in microphones and since I cannot rent gear up here on short notice I used what I had and hoped for the best. I used a pair of Sennheiser MKH-8040s, a single MKH-8040, MKH-416, Sanken CSS-5, AT 835ST and a Sony D-50. I had two SD-702s, an FR-2 and a Sony PCM-D1 with the Sony pre-amp module. If the recorder could record at 192K I set it for that sample rate.

The video above is from a set of bursts from the M-60. I quickly combined the MKH-416 and Sanken CSS-5 for the audio track. There is no other processing except for some EQ and Limiting.

We had some interruptions during the shoot (no surprise) and at times had to wait a while for them to pass. Birds, squirrels, cars and airplane all made their presence known at times and it really screwed up the flow of the sessions because I knew the rain was coming and I only had a few hours to get all these guns recorded.

All in all it was a great session and I am happy with the results. There are a few things I would like to have done differently and will have the chance to try them out in the future. I do want to do this again and will take what I learned and hope for the best again.

-Frank

PHOTOS

Guns 10-2011 Photo
Guns 10-2011 Photo
Guns 10-2011 Photo
Guns 10-2011 Photo
Guns 10-2011 Photo
Guns 10-2011 Photo
Guns 10-2011 Photo
Guns 10-2011 Photo
Explosion 10-2011 Photo
Explosion 10-2011 Photo
Explosion 10-2011 Photo
Explosion 10-2011 Photo
Explosion 10-2011 Photo
Explosion 10-2011 Photo

The Adventure of a Leaftime

You Are Recording What?

I’ve been asked a few times, “You’re recording leaves? Why?” My short answer was because they are there. The long answer is because I’ve always needed some leaf-type sounds in my video game work. Whether it was for a fantasy forest ambient track sweetener, a tree monster, or a spaceship roaring low over trees, leaves come in very handy. So now the question is: What do I record and where do I record it? In this article I will detail, the best way I can, the adventure this turned out to be, what I learned, and how I put it all together.

Planning Stage: What? Me Plan?

I started with walking around the forest near the ranch and played with all the trees, bushes, and weeds. It may sound strange but I actually had a great time. I carried my PCM-D1 with me and recorded different plants and took photos so I could visually connect with what was recorded on this test run. This library was going to be a challenge, I thought to myself. How am I going to record things that barely make a sound? Will the weather be good for a clean recording? How loud is the background noise from the industrialized world around me? Since leaves sound different during the changing seasons, how am I going to make this a well- rounded collection? How the heck am I going to find the time since I’m swamped with video game work at the moment?

Now I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I wanted this to be a great collection of sounds, not just some stuff thrown together that did not make any sense. I took a different approach. Instead of recording everything about a leaf, I decided to just wing it and see what happens. Since my schedule did not allow me to drive around the world and record leaves from everywhere, I focused on the leaves around home. I never traveled more than a mile away from the ranch. I have many different types of trees, a large field of tall grass, and other plant life that just begged to be recorded. I began recording the bulk of the material in May of this year. I already had some recordings I made in 2007 that are in the library as well.

Patience is a Virtue

This is so true. I’m not always a patient person. When I’m out recording and there is an interruption, whether it’s a plane passing overhead or a bird chirping nearby, I get frustrated. OK, I’m learning… I have gotten much better over the years. At times, while recording for this collection, I waited outside for hours. Perhaps the wind was not right or there was a train going through town. Believe me when I tell you, lots of trains pass through North Idaho – over 60 a day I was told. Since I was attempting to fit these recording sessions in between my game work, that’s when my life got interesting. I had to develop ways to be ready to record at a moments notice. I had two recording set-ups with four sets of microphones that were always ready to go – sometimes I used a boom and sometimes a stand. My living room looked like a showroom for location recording.

The Adventure

I recorded over 50 hours of source material for Ultimate Foliage and most of it was air. Much of it I recorded at night when it was super quiet (except for the tree frogs chirping). Sometimes I would go out at 2:00 AM and rustle the leaves and at other times I would set two SD-702 recorders on two hour timers near the forest. I had to make sure the weather forecast was not calling for rain during the timer recordings for obvious reasons. These sessions did not really yield much material because the microphones were stationary and it was basically ambience. I got the best recordings when I was mobile and could follow the action around. I had some great sessions that resulted in some really cool sounds that I never thought I would get. Here are some of them.

Leaf Dancing
Weather played a huge role in this process. During late summer, the wind gods blessed me with some great gusting wind for days. The leaves were tumbling over my sidewalk and lawn so I used an AT-835ST on a long boom and held it over the leaves for about 30 minutes. I used this microphone because it’s not very heavy on a long boom, and it has a nice crisp high end that worked well on the leaf dancing. It was the middle of the day and there was some traffic on the road so I lost some great gusts to a semi truck driving by. All in all, I recorded a few takes, and I carefully edited the pieces together. I consider it one of the highlights of the library.

Tree Recording PhotoThe Trees Are Alive With the Sound of Music
The gusty wind that was around for a few days also yielded some great tree leaf movement. After I recorded the dry leaves, I walked around the ranch with the boom and held it, as far as I could comfortably reach, into the trees that surround the ranch. The wind was really gusting at this point, and it took a lot of effort to hold the 16-foot boom pole steady. The AT-835ST held up well because of its light weight. I used the 80Hz low cut filter on the SD-702 which helped to keep much of the wind rumble out. I ended up with many elegant wind and tree leaf swells that work well alone or mixed in with other elements.

I also wanted to capture just the leaves rustling in the trees without the wind. My goal was to have some leaf movement that a sound designer could layer under whatever wind tracks they wanted. Some of these are subtle swaying and some are violent shakes and impacts on the maple trees here. To get the right movements, I stood in the grove of trees and moved the branches by hand and at other times I strung a rope through the small maple tree trunks and pulled back and forth. The leaves were green for the most part. We were approaching the time of year when the leaves on the birch trees start to turn bright yellow and fall to the ground. The local squirrels also eat the seeds from the maple trees, and I worked around their lunch and dinner breaks. The squirrels need to survive a long winter so I gave them a break.

The Tree Monster
Tree and Sennheiser MKH-8040ST
This session is one of my favorites. I had a partially dead maple tree that I’ve wanted to clear out for years and now was the time. I cut the tree and laid it down gently so as to not break off all the dead limbs. Maple is a very solid wood when it’s dry so I figured I could really get some hard-hitting branch breaks and impacts from this tree. There were some live branches still on the tree so I first worked those for some large leafy tree limb movements. Next up was hitting the main trunk of the tree with some larger dry branches that I had broken off. These branches were heavy and gave me a workout, but I recorded some awesome swishes and impacts. I really liked the sound of a dry branch with a splintered top; I recorded some cool multi tonal swishes. I left the live branches with leaves for the deer to eat; they love maple leaves. The remaining dry branches I cut up and stored away as firewood.

Fern Recording PhotoMay the Fern Be with You
Another one of my favorite sessions was recording the sound of the ferns down by my seasonal stream. It’s very wet down there making it a perfect habitat for the ferns, and they remain green until the late fall. I recorded actions such as pulling out of the ground, swishes, rustling, and breaking the stems. Ferns have very rigid stems so that when bunches of them are broken together they sound really cool. I recorded the ferns with the Sennheiser MKH-8040ST rig. The high frequency content holds up well when pitched down even to extremes.

The Pond of Life
There is a small pond on the mountain behind the ranch and lots of cattails have grown up over the years. First I recorded wind blowing though the cattails with the Sennheiser MKH-8040ST rig, and I noticed that there were insects buzzing around also. The dragonflies seemed to like hanging out in the cattails and some of the rustling I heard was from them in the leaves. Quite a bit of it was unusable because of the friendly squirrels and someone honing his skills with a rifle. The problem with attempting to record these subtle sounds is that the other sounds can really screw up a take. Again, I’m learning patience.

Cattails and Sennheiser MKH-8040ST

The second time I went up to the pond the goal was to get some rustling cattails and some chopping with a machete knife. I decided to bring my Sanken CSS-5 and my Sennheiser MKH-416. Since I was recording in the muddy section of the pond, I recorded each action two times, once with the CSS-5 and then with the MKH-416. I had the CSS-5 on a stand to record the rustling and the machete from a medium distance and then switched to the hand held MKH-416 to get some close up takes. These microphones sound very different, and I’m glad I brought both. I decided against using the MKH-8040ST because of the off chance it could end up in the mud, an expensive accident if it happened.

Swish Me Baby!
Now I was at the point where I needed to spice things up a bit and see what I could do with taking branches and bundles of grass and swishing them past the microphones. I wanted to simulate many types of swishes and impacts that would occur in a gun battle, a tree monster swinging its limbs, running through a field or a swamp, among many other things. I tried to get as many possible variations as I could—fast, slow, close, far, etc. One time I got a little carried away and hit the video camera and it went down. The price you pay for trying to not hit a $3000.00 microphone rig.

To Dry or Not to Dry
Last but not least, I recorded some dry leaves. I had to wait a few weeks for the leaves to start falling. When I found out it was going to rain for days I had to act quickly. I stored some dry leaves for use later but never needed them as I managed to get everything I wanted recorded. The dry leaves were the trickiest to record. Most of the time, they don’t produce a very loud sound and when they do it can sound like white noise. I recorded dropping them from my 14-foot deck onto the lawn below and crunching them with my hands or feet. I then raked them up into a pile and re-lived a time in my childhood when my grandfather would collect all the fall leaves from the whole neighborhood (The sign said, “Leave Your Leaves Here”) and make a huge pile for his grandkids to jump into. One of my favorite sets of sounds is of a rake hitting the pile of leaves and making a great swish and impact as it slapped the leaves. I also dropped a cinderblock and my boot into the pile for good measure. I used the MKH-8040ST and CSS-5 sync locked for this session but ended up going with just the MKH-8040ST.

Final Destination

The editing and mastering phase of the library was also very challenging. I was lucky enough to get recordings that did not need any noise reduction. I just carefully used EQ and expansion to make sure they were good. One thing I did notice when I was editing was that listening at higher volumes takes away the setting in which you actually hear most of the rustling leaves in real life. I had to listen loud sometimes because I wanted to hear the stuff in the background, but then I went back to making sure it sounded good at the level in which it probably will be used in a production. Some of the tracks also sounded like there millions of tiny clicks. They weren’t clicks but just the way the leaves sounded sometimes. I ended up pulling some out by hand and on occasion used RX-2 at a very low setting. The RX-2 removed just the offending clicks and left the natural ones. I am amazed at how great that piece of software is.

The metadata part of this adventure was fairly easy. The only thing I was concerned about was adding the microphone name to the file name and description field. I decided to add it only when one mic was tracked along side another or used in the same session but on a different take. I wanted to let the user know why the same action sounds so different. If you use Soundminer HD or v4 Pro you can see the “Microphone” field contains the name of the microphone used. I hope this helps. I am still refining the metadata process and keep coming up with new ideas for it, but at the same time, I don’t want to make it too different from my other sound effects libraries.

It’s a Wrap

There are so many other things I recorded: apples falling from my tree, picking fruit, plum leaves, grabbing hops, and playing with dry field grass, that I could write 20 more pages. These round out what I think is a good start on my first collection of foliage sounds. This was probably the most challenging sound effects library I have made so far. It wasn’t so much physically challenging as it was technically challenging. Leaves in general can all sound the same. The sounds from fallen leaves are very subtle and not very loud. Whether on the ground or on the trees, recording them really depends on the weather being just right. As the year progresses, I hope to add to my leaf collection as the fall gets closer to winter. I still have many green leaves on the trees, and I await the first deep frost to help them change color and float to the ground.

-Frank


PHOTO GALLERY

[rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-2011-09-26_3.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-2011-09-26_4.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-2011-10-07_02.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-2011-10-09_08.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-2011-10-09_09.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-Tree-2011-10-02_1.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-Tree-2011-10-02_2.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-Tree-2011-10-02_4.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Leaves-Tree-Recording-2011-07-24-8.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Pond-Recording-110731-5.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-14-1.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 360″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-14-2.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 360″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-14-3.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-14-5.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-45.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-47.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-48.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-65.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Foliage-Recording-2011-09-69.jpg[/rokbox] [rokbox title=”Ultimate Foliage SFX HD PRO :: Foliage recording on the ranch” size=”640 480″ album=”album” class=”link-class” imgclass=”image-class rt-image” twidth=”100″ theight=”80″]https://therecordist.com/assets/photo_gallery_sfx_12/Tree-Recording-2011-09-03-3.jpg[/rokbox]

Deer Snorts and Squirrel Talk

Snort… Snot… danger signal… Call it what you want

One of the sounds a deer makes when it senses danger is snorting. I have been trying to get a decent recording of this nose blow for years. Sometimes when I’m out recording in the yard I will startle one of them out in the forest and they blow snot out their nose. Sometimes it’s very loud and startles me. If there are a few of them hanging out in the woods they all go running when the boss of the group makes this sound. I have heard them do this 10 yards away from me and 50 yards away from me. Believe me when I tell you that at 10 yards it’s quite loud and makes me jump.

I recorded this set of snorts while I was getting some dry grass sounds for my next library called Ultimate Foliage. The tall grass was at the edge of the property at the forest tree line and I had no idea the deer were around. I usually hear them walking around in the brush especially this time of year when the ground is so dry. They can make quite a racket out there.

The deer recording is not the cleanest but it’s the best I’ve recorded so far. There were some cars driving by and I was waiting for those cars to pass when one of the the deer decided to let it’s snot fly. I turned and aimed the MKH-416 in his direction and tried not to move. The deer were probably about 30 yards away from me deep in the woods and after the last snort they all ran off like I was a hunter. It will be hunting season around here soon and every year they disappear for a while and go into hiding. Disclaimer: I do not hunt and have no opinion on the subject except that once I was tricked into eating venison and after I was told what it was, I freaked.

Deer Snorts and Squirrel Talk by therecordist

Squirrel Talk

Sometimes when I’m out recording on the ranch the squirrels decide to yap it up and I swear they are messing with me. It can be so very quiet outside and I grab the gear, start recording and they want have a party in the trees. One starts, then another, then another and before you know it I’m recording squeaking and chirping instead of the intended sound. This summer I decided if I can’t beat them, join them. Sometimes they actually make a cool sound when they are playful and at other times they can chirp until it gives me a headache.

The squirrels here in the country are smaller and more afraid of humans than the bigger ones in the city and suburbs. I have only been able to get close to one a few times in all the years I’ve lived here.

These recordings are from two separate occasions. The first one was a squirrel chasing another and the second part was from a very close encounter with one on my barn roof. I was able to get two meters away from the little guy as he chirped his brains out. At the end of the track I pitched the track down an octave and it sounded like a strange furry creature in the evil forest of some horror movie.

Enjoy! -Frank

 

Equiment Notes: Sennheiser MKH-416 Microphone and a Sound Devices SD-702 at 24/96